(Dr. Reed Richards)
The events that would shape the quartet who would become the Fantastic Four into the people they became began nearly twenty years ago, in the dorms of Columbia University. There, three men would meet as roommates: Reed Richards, whose genius was apparent even then; Benjamin J. Grimm, a former street tough pursuing an engineering degree on an Air Force ROTC scholarship; and Victor von Duum, a Latverian whose genius rivaled Reed's.
Reed and Victor would often discuss their theories with each other, although Victor's ego would cause him to lash out violently when Reed and even Ben would find errors in his calculations. Reed's dream, which he was pursuing even then, partially based on formulas put forward by Einstein and Hawking, was to build a device that would generate a large and stable enough wormhole to send a manned ship through. Ben half-jokingly said that if Reed could get such a ship built, he'd want to pilot the thing.
After college, the three went their separate ways. Reed was soon teaching at Columbia and Empire State Universities; meanwhile Ben earned his Air Force commission, flew a number of sorties in the Middle East, and became an astronaut. Victor had split some time before, and never forgave Reed or Ben for what he imagined as their slights against him.
Reed ultimately managed to develop a prototype of his drive, and approached NASA with the intent of building first a few probes and then a manned flight. At NASA, Reed was reunited with Ben, who Reed held to his old college promise (truth be told, Ben couldn't stay away from the project if he tried), and introduced to a brilliant young paramedic, Susan Storm, and her physician father, Franklin . Reed and Sue began dating soon after, despite her being eleven years his junior.
As the day of the launch approached, Sue's younger brother, Johnny, was permitted to tour the craft, dubbed the Fantastic after the old 1966 film Fantastic Voyage. Johnny was later brought into the project as a technician after his work on a thruster proved to be superior to that of NASA's own mechanics. Reed hand-picked the crew: himself as the mission commander, Ben as pilot, Sue as medical officer, and Johnny as the on-board technician. He also selected Ben's fellow astronaut Carol Danvers as a backup pilot in case Ben for any reason could not make the flight, but she never actually flew on the craft.
The first flight was meant to be a simple round trip from low Earth orbit to Mars and back. Fate, however, had different ideas. Reed has attributed what went wrong to not being able to compensate for the strange radiation of hyperspace. Astronomers at NASA believe the ship unexpectedly intersected a freak tachyon particle storm. Either way, at first the crew seemed unaffected, although the Fantastic came out of the return wormhole at a much higher speed than expected. It was only due to a last-minute jury-rig repair of Johnny's and Ben's expert flying that enabled them to land safely at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
Not long after, the four crew members began to display signs of their superhuman powers and relocated to Reed's home laboratory in the Baxter Building in New York City. It wasn't long after that Reed proposed that the four form a team of adventurers; the others agreed for various reasons.
Today, the Fantastic Four are the world's premier scientific adventurer team, funded by the licensing of Reed's patents. Because they own the only operational Earth-made faster-than-light starship, the FF has been granted a United Nations mandate to be Earth's official ambassadors to any alien empires that take an interest in Earth, most notably the Kree and Skrull Empires. They also have an informal information sharing agreement with the Avengers and the X-Men.
First Post-Reboot Appearance: FANTASTIC FOUR #1.
Mister Fantastic – Founding member.
Invisible Woman – Founding member.
Human Torch – Founding member.
Thing – Founding member.